Saturday, October 11

Straight Outta the Man Cave: Week 6 Mancrushes

Is there a better activity in the world than chilling down in the man cave discussing football and girls? Red blooded American males say it in unison, "No." Of course not. This is why every Thursday (Or in this week's case, late Saturday) FFWWH will let you all in on our own couch talk about football. And girls. And football playing girls. The down side? Football playing girls don't matter in the type of fantasy football that this site is specifically about. So uhh, we kind of had to improvise and work with what we have. So, umm, this feature will be about our mancrushes. (Ya, ya, cue the "figures, he's from California" jokes, blah, blah.) Moving on. Here's each of our respective man crushes for week 6. A-Koz I called him a sleeper last year. I was wrong—way wrong. I think that I was a year ahead of myself. Believe it or not, but Visanthe Shiancoe is ranked eighth among all tight end's this year. Gus Ferrotte is a lot more willing to throw the ball to his TE than Tarvarais Jackson was last year and early this season. With the Vikings going against a terrible Lions defense that gave up over 300 yards to Kyle Orton and the Bears last week, Shiancoe is a sleeper in my books. Stat Boy He isn't Sexy Rexy, but he is the Big KO. Kyle Orton is my mancrush of the week. Over the past three weeks, Orton has the third-most fantasy points per game among quarterbacks (over 17, behind only Drew Brees and Brett Favre), the fourth-most passing yards, and the second-most touchdowns passes with seven scores. This week he plays a Falcons team that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points per game, the most touchdowns per game, and the fifth-most yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. (Those stats excluding the Chiefs game when terrible Tyler Thigpen was quarterback.) Orton should be good for 300 yards and two or three scores this week against the Falcons. He's a top-seven QB this week and a must-start in all formats. Tosten It's ironic. Being so good at one thing but so mediocre at something else. Not Kanye West and his less-than-good vocoder "enhanced" sing star moment coming from an all time great rapper. The Chicago Bears defense. The squad that is fourth in the league against the run is 23rd against the pass. In other words, the Atlanta Falcons will rely on Roddy White and the passing game rather than Michael Turner and the running game to keep the offense moving. Rookie Matt Ryan could be a decent start, but White, who is third in the NFL in receiving yards, is as solid as any wide out in the league for week six, especially with the Falcons likely to be playing from behind against Kanye's Chi-town. New Guy His mancrush article went M.I.A. this week. He's like the Rams' defense. Neither of them show up.
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Double Coverage

The feature everyone loved in the preseason, Double Coverage, is back this week. There have been many dynamic duos in history. Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Batman and Robin. Peanut butter and jelly. And today, we bring you yet another great duo. Tosten and I will be giving our views on a player each week; one of us for him, and one of us against him. Today's topic: Denver Broncos running back Michael Pittman.
A-Koz: Start Pittman
There's no Selvin Young in the lineup for Denver this week. Ditto for Tony Scheffler. Two of Denver's better offensive weapons have both been ruled out because of groin injuries. For once, we may actually have an idea who the main back will be in the Mike Shanahan offense. That guy is Michael Pittman. Even before Young got hurt, Pittman was getting the majority of the red zone carries for Denver. Granted, you know my feelings on guys who are too reliant on getting red zone carries and touchdowns (see any of my rants on Joseph Addai), but that won't be the case for Pittman this week. He should see a lot of carries, giving him plenty of chances to rack up yards. The Jacksonville run defense isn't the same without Marcus Stroud. Their run defense is ranked a mere 15th in the league, a far cry from their usual stout self. This was also a defense that allowed a Pittsburgh Steelers offense that was without three running backs last week to run for over 100 yards. Weak, Jacksonville. But you know who will be strong? Michael Pittman.
Tosten Burks: Bench him
Yes, Selvin Young is out on Sunday. And yes, Michael Pittman has been the most productive Denver running back other than Young so far this year. But Mike Shanahan is also the spawn of Hades and the sky is also blue. What does that mean? Start Andre Hall. Michael Pittman is a goal line back, nothing more. Hall, coming in at 10 pounds lighter than Pittman, is more in the mold of a between-the-20s tailback, and unless Shanny has Ryan Torain on his fantasy team or something, Hall will be the main beneficiary of Selvin Young's groin injury. This isn't to say that Pittman is necessarily a bad start—Scheffler being out could possibly translate to more goal line touches for the goal line back, Pittman, so he could step up as he has so far this year and pick up a score or two down in the red zone. But Hall is the guy who will get the yards and the majority of looks out of the backfield.

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Thursday, October 9

Stat Boy Saturday: A Closer Look at Wide Receiver Targets

Another week with our honorary stat boy, Zach Fein of Fein Sports. A contributor with as much stat muscle as anyone in the business. You may not understand what he's says and use it for you fantasy leagues, but if you're in the mood to be baffled and confused, then boy does he have you covered. Because life is one big spreadsheet. This week he looks at the amount of targets receivers get based on their quarterback's attempts. I've simply been amazed at how often Matt Ryan throws to Roddy White. Half of Ryan's yards and touchdown passes have gone to White. In comparison, the leader in reception yards, Greg Jennings, only has 45 percent of Aaron Rodger's passing yards and a third of Rodgers' nine touchdowns. A more appropriate statistic is targets. The main principle of targets is that wide receivers can't create their own opportunities; instead, they can only perform with the passes thrown to them. A player with 20 catches and 50 targets is more valuable than one with the same amount of receptions but half the targets. Thus, I looked at not the amount of targets a receiver has received, but the amount of targets divided by his quarterback's amount of pass attempts. This creates a balance for pass-heavy and run-heavy teams, and can also judge how a player's targets fluctuate with his current quarterback and backup quarterback (with the condition that the WR's team has employed more than one QB this year). There are two provisions here, however. For teams who changed QBs mid-game, I did my best to count the amount of targets a player had through's play-by-play data with both QBs. But I didn't check the play-by-play if a team used two quarterbacks in a game, and one had very few attempts (Kerry Collins in week one and Kevin O'Connell in week three, for example). In that case I just counted the backup's attempts as the starter's. Please note that I only counted attempts in games that the receiver played. This way, Bobby Engram doesn't get counted with only 12 targets in Matt Hasselbeck's 100-plus attempts. I included the top 50 receivers in targets per games played, and also a few notable ones that didn't make the cut (Chris Chambers, Donald Driver, etc). I kept Dwayne Bowe separate from the other receivers, because he was the only one to have three quarterbacks. (And yes, I know Brian Griese is now the backup in Tampa Bay, but I left him as the starter for simplicity.)
Percent of QB Attempts = Targets
Player QB_current %current QB_backup %backup
Dwayne Bowe KC - - Huard 39.3
- - - Croyle 36.8
- - - Thigpen 31.6
Brandon Marshall DEN Cutler 51.5 - -
Bobby Engram SEA Hasselbeck 44.4 - -
Steve Smith CAR Delhomme 41.3 - -
Roddy White ATL Ryan 33.6 - -
Eddie Royal DEN Cutler 32.8 - -
Wes Welker NE Cassel 32.7 Brady 45.5
Justin Gage TEN Collins 32.1 Young 20.8
T.J. Houshmandzadeh CIN Palmer 31.5 Fitzpatrick 20.0
Derrick Mason BAL Flacco 31.1 - -
Muhsin Muhammad CAR Delhomme 28.9 - -
Calvin Johnson DET Kitna 28.8 Orlovsky 8.7
Santana Moss WAS Campbell 28.8 - -
Hines Ward PIT Roethlisberger 27.6 - -
Larry Fitzgerald ARI Warner 27.0 - -
Greg Jennings GB Rodgers 26.8 - -
Andre Johnson HOU Schaub 26.4 Rosenfels 25.6
Plaxico Burress NYG E.Manning 26.2 - -
Braylon Edwards CLE Anderson 25.6 - -
Brandon Stokley DEN Cutler 25.6 - -
Santonio Holmes PIT Roethlisberger 25.4 - -
Matt Jones JAC Garrard 24.8 - -
Reggie Wayne IND P.Manning 24.7 - -
Justin McCareins TEN Collins 24.6 Young 12.5
Anquan Boldin ARI Warner 24.5 - -
Bernard Berrian MIN Frerotte 24.3 Jackson 18.6
Terrell Owens DAL Romo 24.1 - -
Amani Toomer NYG E.Manning 23.3 - -
Greg Camarillo MIA Pennington 23.2 Henne 8.3
Laveranues Coles NYJ Favre 22.5 - -
Bobby Wade MIN Frerotte 22.4 Jackson 15.3
Antonio Bryant TB Griese 21.8 Garcia 25.9
Vincent Jackson SD Rivers 21.7 - -
Billy McMullen SEA Hasselbeck 21.7 - -
Roy Williams DET Kitna 21.6 Orlovsky 39.1
Randy Moss NE Cassel 21.2 Brady 27.3
Antwaan Randle El WAS Campbell 20.9 - -
Brandon Lloyd CHI Orton 20.7 - -
Lee Evans BUF Edwards 20.5 Losman 23.8
Marvin Harrison IND P.Manning 20.1 - -
DeSean Jackson PHI McNabb 20.1 - -
Kevin Walter HOU Schaub 20.0 Rosenfels 9.3
Isaac Bruce SF O'Sullivan 20.0 - -
Jerricho Cotchery NYJ Favre 19.4 - -
Torry Holt STL Bulger 19.1 Green 21.9
Chris Chambers SD Rivers 17.4 - -
Chad Johnson CIN Palmer 16.9 Fitzpatrick 20.0
Anthony Gonzalez IND P.Manning 16.9 - -
Donald Driver GB Rodgers 16.7 - -
Reggie Brown PHI McNabb 16.7 - -
Steve Breaston ARI Warner 16.2 - -
Lance Moore NO Brees 16.0 - -
Patrick Crayton DAL Romo 15.4 - -
Joey Galloway TB Griese 12.9 Garcia 31.7
Ike Hilliard TB Griese 10.9 Garcia 17.2
  • Jeff Garcia will start this week. All of the Bucs receivers in the table had their target percentage improve with Garcia as QB; upgrade the three of them this week as the Bucs play the Panthers. Don't forget that the Panthers have a stout run defense, so the Bucs will be passing all day long.
  • I have been saying that Gage is a someone to pick up for some time now. Going back to week 10 of last year and this year (11 games total), Gage has had under 40 yards just twice and 60 yards just four times, and almost all of those game were with Vince Young under center. In his two games with Kerry Collins this year, Gage has ten receptions for 150 yards and a score.
  • I love Bobby Engram. He's the only guy left in the Seahawks' receiving core—seriously—and Matt Hasselbeck should be targeting him all day long. That was shown last week as Engram had the fourth-most targets, with 12.
  • Dan Orlovsky is rumored to be the starter in Detroit for this week as Kitna's back heals. In just one half last week, Orlovsky targeted Roy Williams nine times, compared to just two to Calvin Johnson. Williams is a top-15 receiver for this week, while I don't see Johnson as a starter in standard leagues, which start a total of 24 receivers and a flex.
  • Muhsin Muhammad is a top-25 receiver for the rest of the year. I said it. He has 220 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games, and his schedule (TB, NO, ARI, bye, OAK, DET, ATL, GNB) in the next eight weeks is extremely easy.
  • If you're in a points-per-reception league and have Kevin Walter, don't worry. Sage "Hey Mom, look! No hands!" Rosenfels rarely targeted him, but that should change with Matt Schaub taking back the job this week.

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Monday, October 6

Weekend Recap: Week 5

"A psychic once told me I was psychic." Those were the words spoken by Dr. House, played by Hugh Laurie, on the T.V. show House*.Think about how much easier it'd be to play fantasy football if you knew exactly what was going to happen each week. Of course, it'd take a lot of the fun out of the game, but you'd sure as heck be the champion of your league! But alas, we aren't psychic. We only have two things: educated guesses—that's as close as you'll get to being psychic. And of course, hindsight. The thing that makes you kick yourself each week you've sat Ronnie Brown when he's blown up for big yards. Or the thing that makes you hate yourself for not giving up on Larry Johnson. (And yeah, I still refuse to give up on him.) Hindsight is truly 20/20. We'll look back on the highs and lows of Week 5. - Back-to-back strong performances from Kyle Orton. Who would've guessed it? Granted, it was against the Lions, but the Bears' pass offense is starting to show signs of life. - Tsk, tsk, Kansas City. I thought you finally had it figured out. Give LJ the ball and win football games. Looks like I was wrong. Seven carries for Larry Johnson isn't going to cut it. Herm Edwards apparently doesn't know "We PLAY to WIN the GAME." - Bo Scaife, not Alge Crumpler, is the Titans tight end you want. He's quickly become Kerry Collins' security blanket, including catching seven of Collins 17 completions against Baltimore. - All Giants are rolling. - All Seahawks aren't. - Jason Campbell and Clinton Portis are running strong (and literally, for Portis). Campbell has yet to make a turnover while Portis has been racking up yards against tough NFC East foes. - Warrick Dunn has quietly having a productive season. He's even starting to carry the ball more than Earnest Graham. (Dunn had 11 carries to Graham's ten yesterday.) Don't jump ship on Graham though; he's averaging an outstanding 5.9 YPC this season. - Matt Cassel is finding his playmakers. Good news for Randy Moss owners. - I've always liked Mike Walker. With an underwhelming Jags WR core, Walker stepped up against the Steelers. The coaches love his potential, and he could definitely be a late-year waiver wire pickup. *[Ed's Note: We hope that wasn't copyright infringement.]
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